Chennai: Tamil Nadu government today said measures were underway to promote the use of artificial sand as an alternative to river sand to be used in the construction sector. Days after Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced that the state would would undertake mining, storing and selling of sand at cheaper rates, the government also announced setting up sand sales depots near rivers.
“Steps have been taken for encouraging the production of M Sand (artificial sand, as it is known) in place of river sand, considering the demand for sand in construction work,” the government said. According to available information, Manufactured sand or M Sand is a substitute for river sand and is produced by crushing of granite. Further, required environmental clearance has been secured for opening seven new sand quarries in the state, it said.
“Steps have been taken for ensuring unhindered supply of sand for people by establishing new quarries. Wherever required, sand will be sold through Government Sand Sales Depots which will be set up near rivers,” it said.
Further, payment for the sale of sand, which is so far restricted to demand draft, will soon be done through Credit and Debit cards, the release said. The release said that patrolling by Revenue and Police officials will be increased to check any irregularities, adding, steps were also being taken to prevent smuggling of sand to neighbouring states. Sand mining is a thriving industry in Tamil Nadu, with illegal mining and smuggling of sand to other states turning out to be major issues confronting the sector.
Illegal sand mining has led not only to a fall in water level in river beds and basins, but also affected flow of rivers across the state. The failure of both South West Monsoon and North East monsoon and overexploitation of available groundwater for both residential and commercial purposes has has only exacerbated the problem.